• Courtney Phillips

Beauty in the times of COVID-19

As a pageant girl and a woman who, even though I pride myself on taking care of myself, is high maintenance, I have a team of those who help me maintain my “maintenance.” Lol. I wanted to share with all of you some of the things that I have implemented to survive potentially months without my amazing folks, as well as my anxieties going into a months-long (with no end in sight *hand over eyes with dramatic sigh*) shelter-in-place.

Going into the time when they began talking about closing all non-essential businesses and sending us home to work from home and our children home from school, I had a feeling that we would be looking at maintaining our own beauty and personal care routines on our own with only the drugstores as support.

So, I took a few proactive steps to make sure I wouldn’t be in a situation where I was watching YouTube videos to do learn to do at home versions of things that are beyond my own skillset with tools that are not meant for that purpose (i.e. coconut oil to remove hair extensions):

  • Extension Solution: I strategized with my hairstylist about my appointment, which I thank God was already pre-scheduled for March 17 to move up my extensions, about what to do with my extensions and color going into an undetermined timeline. We decided to remove the extensions because it may be a waste of money to have extensions on at home and I may need a removal and no way to get it done. We also decided to do my hair brighter and the color of my clip-in extensions, so it would make me happy and I could still pop in the clips when I want to (You know for Lily or random Tik Tok videos!)

  • When you dip, I dip, you dip: Those great nail dips that last 3-4 weeks and helps your nails grow. You know the ones that you have to soak off at the salon for 20 minutes and then they get out a power drill and file on them for another 20 minutes before getting out a nuclear blast to get back to your natural nail. Yea, those. I love them, too. I had them removed… I’m still sad. The lady at the salon looked at me with a wildly, crazed look in her eyes and said, “you only want removed?” And I had to say, “Yes, ma’am. Only removed.” And I slogged out with the saddest nails in town. But I am not sure that I could have even trimmed those babies on my own. Can you even imagine the incident we’d have had I not made this decision?

So, now that I was back filed down to my “natural” habitat, here are some of my tips for keeping myself sane through quarantine by keeping up with beauty and self-care:

  1. Self-tanning: When you can’t get into a spray tan salon, putting on your own color will help ensure you feel like you’ve been outside even when you can’t go outside. I went the first two or so weeks not wanting to waste my self tanner on “myself” and then I had a realization that it makes me happy to see tan legs and walk past the mirrors in my home and feel like I look nice. So, I decided that this was going to stay on the list. I normally do this – and by normally, I mean always regardless of quarantine – once a week, usually on Thursday nights so it’s fresh for the weekends. I use a foam self tanner with a mitt and never have any issues with streaks. * Try St. Tropez Express Tan for a true bronze, non-Trumpian glow. You can decide how dark you want to look based on how long you leave it on. I sleep in it, which is likely why sometimes my spin instructor announces at 6:00 am that I look “REALLY DARK.”

  2. Makeup Dupes: I google make-up dupes for my expensive makeup brands to find the drugstore versions, so I’m not wearing $50 concealer for the dog. OK, so full discloser, I did this a very long time ago, because I wear makeup so much. My makeup bag actually has two versions of everyone – a high-end and a drugstore version. * Try Loreal Infallible Concealer as a great dupe for Tarte’s Shape Tape. It looks like Shape Tape in your makeup bag and on your face but doesn’t go on like it. You have to actually put it on and smooth it on with your beauty blender super fast because it dries in seconds and then it streaks. * Try Loreal Infallible Foundation as a dupe for Lancôme Teint Idole. This one doesn’t have any tricks or tips. It looks and goes on just like it. I was a horrible customer at CVS and brought my Lancôme in with me and did a color match on my wrist. I have the Loreal for both when I have a tan and when I don’t. * Try NYX Microbrow Pencil instead of the Anastasia Brow Definer. I was actually stopped in Ulta by a makeup artist about five years ago and told about this trick. I think the NYX one has more product in it and therefore lasts longer. I trusted her and have loved it ever since.

  3. Gel Nail Polish: I have no wait in me! So, gel nail polish is essentially the only kind I am able to put on my nails without ruining my manicure. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to do at home manicures either. I barely trim my cuticles so my fingers don’t look like hooves, and then I throw on the gel, which by the way, dries in seconds, and then the topcoat. It lasts for 5-6 days, which is way longer than any normal nail polish that takes that long to dry. * Try Sally Hanson Miracle Gel for a great color and solid look for at least a week. No tricks. Just grab it when you go to the drug store or grocery store next.

  4. Moisturize: Wait what? Yea, we’ve been washing our hands like crazy, and I don’t know about you, but my hands looked like skeletor! So, I did a little research and found a good repair cream and every single time I wash my hands, I’m putting it on. I don’t think this was initially what this product was created for, but it now sits on my sink and that’s what we’re doing… * Try Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream to keep your hands smooth and soft. I don’t even leave the lid on. It’s just there and it’s part of my routine. “Happy birthday,” dry hands, Eucerin, Courtney doesn’t get sick and has soft hands.

  5. Keep a Routine: This isn’t only about beauty. It’s about whole health too. But, if you normally wake up at 5:00 am to go to a workout class, meditate, go on a walk, get ready and then go to work, then I say, you should still do those things. No reason to still be in your PJs with teeth unbrushed at 6:00 pm. Put on your makeup, brush your teeth, curl your hair, and then when you walk past a mirror or see yourself in the reflection on your way to the fridge for the 18th time – who are we kidding I do it too – you feel good about yourself. Holding myself accountable is the way I stay sane and, on the days, I don’t do that are the days I feel bad about myself and my vibes and confidence start to slip.

I hope this post doesn’t seem unsupportive of those who are sick or dealing with mental health issues during this trying time. But, we are inundated with news and information regarding updates on that and on how to deal with our ongoing anxieties due to this ongoing pandemic. For me, feeling a bit like myself and getting ready for the day – or walking past a mirror and seeing “me” – helps me maintain my mental health, so I wanted to share some of what I’ve been doing along the way.

Mental Health Resources If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, don’t suffer in silence! There are free and affordable resources to help you get through these times. Here are just a few options for you below:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255): Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential, toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. 

  • National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) offers peer-to-peer support groups in most locations. This in-person group experience provides the opportunity for mutual support and positive impact. You can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who relate to your experiences. 

  • Some federal agencies offer resources for identifying practitioners and assistance in finding low-cost health services. These include:

  • Health Resources and Services Administration works to improve access to health care. The website has information on finding affordable healthcare, including health centers that offer care on a sliding fee scale.

  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has information on its website about benefits and eligibility for its programs and how to enroll.

  • The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus website also has lists of directories and organizations that can help in identifying a health practitioner.

  • Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offer resources to help answer questions about insurance coverage for mental health care.

  • Service members and Veterans have unique needs. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/veterans provides for their specific needs.

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